Collaborative Graphic Novels from a Visual Storytelling class
Discovery. A Collaborative Graphic Novel. Winter 2019.
Discovery. A Collaborative Graphic Novel.
Discovery is a collection of comic short storiescreated by the students of the Winter 2019 Visual Storytelling class, Writing and Publishing a Graphic Novel, at the Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto, California.
For a few years now, I have been teaching various visual storytelling classes for adults at the Palo Alto Art Center. Students enjoy learning the basics of different forms of visual storytelling and creating their own story with texts and images. In 2016, I offered the students the possibility of going one step further to discover the excitement of not only writing but also publishing a graphic novel by designing a new class: Writing and Publishing a Graphic Novel: A Grand Voyage.
The class was a success and the final collective graphic novel included eight complete stories of five pages each.
Three years later, we are repeating the experience. The project is ambitious. Over the course of a ten-week evening class, students learned to develop a multiple-page story using sequential art, in the visual narrative style of their choice: memoirs, fiction, children stories, science-fiction and fantasy.
A series of exercises introduced the students to the fundamentals of visual storytelling such as storyboarding, thumbnailing, character design, picture composition, camera angles and shots, page layouts, etc. While many students preferred traditional techniques, such as pencil, black ink and watercolor on paper, others chose to work with digital tools. Finally, the class participants learned to organize the collection of individual stories into a cohesive digital graphic novel. Topics included book layout, cover design, title page, preface, barcodes and ISBN numbers, copyrights, etc. The students selected “Discovery” as a common theme for their stories, a theme that could be taken literally or figuratively.
The final collaborative graphic novel book includes seven complete stories and the beginning of an eight one. Two of the class students had participated in the Winter 2016 class. A few others had already taken one of my visual storytelling classes in a previous semester. Some of the class participants are beginners with little or no experience at all in storytelling or art. Other students are aiming at a professional career as illustrators and children book writers. The final collaborative graphic novel book includes eight complete stories of various lengths. All the stories are wonderful! They range from touching personal memories to complete work of fiction, all of them sharing, in a way or another, an element of discovery. Each of the stories in the book is preceded by the student’s self-portrait and artist statement. Some of the students also included at the end of their story a selection of their preliminary work, thumbnails and sketches, giving the reader an idea of their creative process.
Discovery is available to all as a PDF, an ePub, and as a video. For now, you can download the PDF version, free of charge, on this webpage. The ePub and video will be available soon. The book was designed with a simple and convenient iPad app: “Book Creator”by Red Jumper www.redjumper.net/
Download or read the book as a PDF.
Once you click on the book title in blue (below), you will see the cover of the book. Click on it and the pdf will start.